While the job market overall is slowly beginning to recover from the pandemic-fueled drop seen in the first quarter of this year, the IT industry has made small gains throughout the crisis, according to LinkedIn data. Software and IT services proved the most resilient sector in the UAE during the pandemic, with job postings on LinkedIn increasing by 66% from the previous year.
As IT departments adjust to a wealth of new demands either brought on or accelerated by the COVID-19 crisis, hiring managers are looking for IT professionals who are prepared to support business continuity while remaining flexible.
Digital transformation efforts — in particular projects aimed at curbing operational cash outlays — are increasing the demand for certain supporting roles in the UAE.
“Just about every industry or sector is looking at digitalization — with particular movement across financial services and government sectors,” said Ian Pollington, senior manager for Strategy, Technology and Digital, at recruitment firm Michael Page Middle East.
Enterprises in the UAE are looking for candidates with expert levels of competency in specific IT solutions and tools to aid their response to the new demands of the shifting IT landscape.
“In terms of data and analytics professionals,” said Pollington, “there are clear benefits to having tangible facts and information to help make business decisions. Strategy departments and executives are calling for more accurate reports and information on how their businesses are run and for more information on customers.”
These shifts in industry demands may mean big opportunities for IT professionals in the job market. “IT remains the leading area of hiring in the capital [Abu Dhabi], with a shift in demand from generalist to specialist roles,” said Mayank Patel, country manager at staffing firm Adecco Middle East.
Below are some of the most in-demand specialist IT roles in the UAE. Information has been gathered from a variety of sources; information for average salary ranges is provided in UAE dirhams (AED) and U.S. dollars on a per-month basis.
AED 17,000-21,000 (US$4,630 – $5,700)
As users generate more and more data, IT positions in data are expanding in tandem. Data engineers are responsible for building datastores, pipelines, and monitoring devops systems to ensure that data is collected and validated in ways that will provide useful insights to data-driven companies.
AED 14,000-18,000 ($3,800-$4,900)
The need for quality data analytics is also growing as more data is generated. Data analysts manage and coordinate statistical analysis and data processing operations. “Candidates in advanced analytics are still very much in-demand, maybe more so than before COVID,” said Pollington. Data analysts use generated data to create employee productivity targets, feasibility reports, and other informational documents often drive decision making.
AED 29,000-33,000 ($7,900-$9,000)
As companies lean into digital transformation efforts, virtualization and cloud infrastructure architects are in high demand. “Moving data to the cloud is becoming more useful,” explained Patel. “This is especially true these times when you’d want an entire workforce to be able to access data remotely.”
Virtualization architects create digital infrastructures, establishing the relationship and interoperability among virtual IT components such as virtual servers and storage devices, which are often cloud-based. They address multiple issues in creating these virtual spaces, including the development of logical design of data flow, migration, clean-up and mapping. Virtualization architects have a technical background that is helpful in cloud architect jobs (see below).
AED 18,000-23,000 ($4,900-$6,300)
Virtualization engineers ensure that the efforts of virtualization architects to create usable virtual infrastructures are not in vain. Virtualization engineers are responsible for the maintenance, support and resolution of IT virtualization infrastructure issues that arise when moving data and services to virtual spaces like cloud infrastructure and virtualized servers. Virtual components of IT systems may reside in on-premises as well as cloud data centres.
AED 35,000-55,000 ($9,560-$14,970)
Cloud architects have different, high-level responsibilities than virtualization architects, including leading cultural change for cloud adoption, and developing and coordinating cloud architecture. A technical background in digital infrastructure and virtualization is a good basis for cloud architecture, so those with virtualization architecture and engineering experience are often a good fit for the cloud architect role.
The cloud architect role also involves assessing applications, software and hardware; overseeing governance and mitigating risk; selecting cloud providers and vetting third-party services.
AED 20,000-35,000 ($5,444-$9,530)
The term cloud engineer is used for those jobs where creating and maintaining cloud services is the prime responsibility. Cloud engineers have skillsets that go beyond the domain of any particular IT area such as virtualization, networking or storage, and job requirements usually include familiarity with one of the major cloud provider’s services. Virtualization engineering provides a good background for cloud engineering.
AED 22,000-25,000 ($5,990-$6,800)
Demand for qualified security engineers in the UAE also seems to be on the rise, with companies looking for employees that can manage and maintain network, end-point, communication and web security devices and monitor and investigate potential security breaches.